Irish Heart has announced a new partnership with The Irish Men’s Sheds Association which will see their nurse-led Mobile Health Unit provide free blood pressure checks to all members of the Association who wish to avail of the service.

For more than 50 years Irish Heart has been committed to effect positive change in people’s lifestyles to prevent heart disease and stroke, the number one cause of death in Ireland, and this partnership is key to reach one of the most at-risk groups in Ireland – men.

According to Irish Heart, statistics show that in spite of increased male life expectancy, men on the island of Ireland continue to die, on average, four-and-a-half years younger than women. It is against this backdrop that The Irish Men’s Sheds Association is committed to encouraging its members to take better care of their health through a support network that allows them to take more of an interest in their own health and well-being. The partnership with Irish Heart further enhances these efforts by offering members easy and free access to dedicated and confidential services like a one-to-one with a healthcheck nurse.

Already Irish Heart’s Mobile Health Unit has attended Men’s Sheds cluster meetings in 11 counties and has provided free blood pressure checks for nearly 300 Men’s Sheds members, referring 42% of those tested on to their local GP for a follow-up. High blood pressure is a silent risk factor which requires a quick check to detect it. To date men’s sheds across half the country have benefited from the partnership with free checks delivered in: Dublin, Clare, Longford, Louth, Wicklow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Galway, Kildare, Cork and Cavan.

Marese Damery, Health Check Manager with Irish Heart said: “Irish Heart is very proud to partner with the Irish Men’s Sheds Association to help promote better heart health awareness for men. Through the mobile unit our nurses engage with the men, encourage them to know their blood pressure, empower them to make any necessary lifestyle changes to improve their heart health and live life better. Many men are reluctant to go to the doctor for a check up and through our mobile health service, we go to them which is a vital prompt not only to carry out a vital blood pressure check, which can be a serious risk factor for stroke and heart attack, but in many cases to refer them to their GP for a follow up.”

The Irish Men’s Sheds Association was formed as a vehicle to support the development of the burgeoning Men’s Sheds movement throughout Ireland, to provide information, resources and support to member sheds, to listen and respond to members’ concerns and provide a safe and encouraging environment where men can talk openly about their feelings, emotions and health concerns.

“The Irish Men’s Sheds Association’s link with Irish Heart is one of our most valuable partnerships,” said Association CEO Mr Barry Sheridan.

“Irish Heart’s Mobile Health Unit has been a very welcome presence at sheds up and down the country. We know that men’s sheds provide huge health and wellbeing benefits to their members. Our Sheds for Life initiative is building on those gains all the time, and Irish Heart’s advice and expertise helps give our shedders even more certainty and control over their heart health, so they can continue to participate fully in their sheds and their communities.”

As this partnership evolves Irish Heart aims to offer free blood pressure tests to all members of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association and, in time, full heart health checks to all those who wish to avail of them.